2002By Bill Weinberg

Its cover blown in the nation's press, the Defense Department The Vancouver Sun reported Feb. 25 that conspiracy guru Michael Ruppert, who vigorously advocates the theory that the government was involved in the 9-11 attacks, "opens his documentary presentation with an offer of $1,000 US to anyone who can prove any of his sources were misrepresented or inauthentic." The Nov. 2 edition of Ruppert's newsletter From the Wilderness opened: "On Oct. 31, the French daily Le Figaro dropped a bombshell. While in a Dubai hospital receiving treatment for a chronic kidney infection last July, Osama bin Laden met with a top CIA official--presumably the Chief of Station... Even though Le Figaro reported that it had confirmed with hospital staff that bin Laden had been there as reported, stories printed on Nov. 1 contained quotes from hospital staff that these reports were untrue." As reported in WW3 REPORT #6, Le Figaro's allegation was cited to the "claims" of unnamed "sources", and nowhere did the paper say it had independently "confirmed" that Osama visited the hospital. According to an on-line translation, Le Figaro's headline used the word "allegedly", and the word "confirmed" did not appear in the article at all. The most specific description of a source was a "partner of the administration" at the hospital. WW3 REPORT remains completely agnostic on whether Osama actually visited the hospital, but reporting the claim as fact rather than allegation constitutes a serious misrepresentation.

In another example, the Sept. 18 From The Wilderness repeated the common but inaccurate claim that last Spring the US gave "a gift of $43 million to the Taliban as a purported reward for its eradication of Afghanistan's opium crop." The source for this claim was a Robert Scheer column in the May 22 Los Angeles Times. However, as reported in  WW3 REPORT #1, the $43 million was broken down in a May 18 AP account, and it was mostly drought-relief, to be distributed through NGOs working in Afghanistan--not the Taliban. Only some $10 million was for "crop-substitution programs," part of the Taliban-led anti-opium campaign, and this too was to be overseen by NGOs rather than the Taliban.

Michael Ruppert can send a $1,000 check payable to Bill Weinberg to: 44 Fifth Ave. #172, Brooklyn, NY 11217

It is the position of WW3 REPORT that after the 1898 explosion of the battleship Maine, the 1933 Reichstag Fire, the 1939 bogus Polish "invasion" of Germany, and the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, it is irresponsible not to consider the possibility that elements of the CIA and/or Bush administration had a hand in the events of Sept. 11. However, it is equally irresponsible to accept this as a foregone conclusion, and twist every fact to fit it. WW3 REPORT remains committed to the idea that there is no higher principle to serve than the truth, and that serving this principle requires unflinching courage, unrestrained inquiry and unsleeping rigor.

ISSUE:#. 24. March 10, 2002


Last week, WW3 REPORT Editor Bill Weinberg took up From the Wilderness e-newsletter editor Michael Ruppert on his public challenge to provide "$1,000 to anyone who can prove any of his sources were misrepresented or inauthentic." (See WW3 REPORT #23) Weinberg cited two examples of misrepresented or inauthentic sources--one concerning claims by the French daily Le Figaro that Osama bin Laden met with a CIA officer at a Dubai hospital last summer, the other concerning allegations the White House provided $43 million in aid to the Taliban last year. Michael Ruppert offers the following reply:

"I am amazed at the unfounded and personal nature of this attack. I will presently prove that it is meritless. I am also amazed that you did not have a journalist's standard code of ethics at your fingertips to contact me and ask for a response before you unilaterally made the statement that I had been 'Caught in Misrepresentations.' As you will see below that is not true and I believe that a personal apology is in order... "Point one of your allegations: Le Figaro did not confirm the story as I stated. Following is an exact copy of the translation of the Le Figaro piece I received from a colleague. I have a date certain copy and a send-and-receive verification of the document. Please read the second sentence of the first paragraph. I believe that you will see that the original French also says exactly the same thing. Je parle un peu de Fran¨ais. Et Vous? "'Le Figaro, Alexandra Richard October 31, 2001 page 2: Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the federation of United Arab Emirate in the north-east of Abu Dhabi. This city of 350,000 inhabitants was the discreet locus of a secret meeting between Osama Ben Laden and the local representative of the CIA, in July. A member of the administration of the American Hospital of Dubai confirms that the public enemy number one stayed in the hospital from July 4th to July 14th...' "Do you happen to see the word 'confirms' there? Also you suggest bias in my reporting by failing to note that some of the hospital staff later denied the story. Yet you failed to mention that I wrote in my timeline story the following, dated November 7, 2001: 'Even though Le Figaro reported that it had confirmed with hospital staff that bin Laden had been there as reported, stories printed on November 1 contained quotes from hospital staff that these reports were untrue. On November 1, as reported by the Ananova press agency, the CIA flatly denied that any meeting between any CIA personnel and Osama bin Laden at any time.' "Point Two of your allegation pertains to the Robert Scheer column from the Los Angeles Times and the $43 million given to the Taliban. You are not alleging that I misquoted Scheer, which I did not. What you are accusing me of is not reaching the same conclusion that you did and calling that 'misrepresentation.' I can list a number of sources which indicate that the payment was a reward that was given at a time when the Taliban had shown signs of cooperation by destroying their opium crop and that, in conjunction with the drought, the lack of cash from opium sales had made it impossible to purchase food. Nonetheless, the point is that at a time when the US gov't knew that terrorist attacks were likely it gave $43 million to its so-called enemy. You do not dispute this point, I take it. So, did I misrepresent Scheer? No, I did not. To quote Scheer: 'The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the US the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that 'rogue' regime for declaring the that opium growing is against the will of God.' "No, I will not pay you $1,000 because I did not do what you allege. My sources are authentic and they are accurately quoted by any standard. And I will be assuming herewith that you have carefully examined every other one of the 46 points in my timeline story and found them to be correct. It would be a good thing for journalism and for all the people of this country if you would show some outrage at what is therein documented rather than engaging in personal attacks that suggest insecurity--or an interest in something other than the welfare of the people--on your part. Sincerely, Mike Ruppert, Publisher/Editor, From The Wilderness " Bill Weinberg, in turn, offers the following counter-response:
  The sentence in the original French version of the Figaro story (on-line at www.infowars.com) actually reads: "Un homme, partenaire professionnel de la direction administrative de l'hospital americain de Dubai, affirme que l'ennemi public numero un a sejourne dans cet etablissement hospitalier du 4 au 14 juillet." The verb in question here is "affirmer." My French-English dictionary (Robert-Collins, 1984) translates "affirmer" as "to maintain" or "assert." The correct translation for "confirm" is given as "confirmer"--which appears nowhere in Le Figaro's story. The logical conclusion is that Le Figaro was reporting unconfirmed assertions, not confirmed fact. (Just for the record, my blurb did indeed quote the hospital staff's refutation of the allegation as it appeared in From the Wilderness.) As for the supposed $43 million in aid to the Taliban: I did not accuse Ruppert of misrepresenting Scheer, but of relying on an inaccurate or misleading source. Scheer's May 22, 2001 LA Times opinion piece was contradicted by a May 18 AP news story, which read: "US aid to Afghanistan bypasses the ruling Taliban militia, which controls the bulk of the country but has no official relationship with the United States because of its alleged role as a sponsor of terrorism... The assistance is donated through international agencies of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations." There are numerous reports of covert CIA aid to the Taliban, but no bureaucratic mechanism exists for overt development aid to a regime with which the US has no diplomatic relations. Therefore the $43 million went to UN and private agencies working in Afghanistan, and was not "a gift to the Taliban."Ruppert's challenge was public, and it was entirely legitimate to answer it publicly. WW3 REPORT's highest commitment is to accuracy, and concedes only the possibility that Ruppert's misrepresentations were unintentional. I hereby leave the matter to the judgement of our readers.


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